New York City
July 4, 2014
Politics is colored by intrigues, filled with fuzzy math, and grounded in melodrama of unimaginable proportion. Humans are political animals, and politics permeates throughout most human endeavors; from family to work to place of worship and full circle all the way back to the political arena of the persistent struggle for political power of governance. Politics is a winner take all fight and the Nigerian styles leave no room for losers. As a result, in the political development of our time it has degenerated to the ends justifying the means, leading to do or die mentality with the attendances; corruption and deceit.
Just as we are about to savor the political earthquake of a victory that occurred in Enugu-USA where the people’s representatives spoke loudly against much odds to elect and pronounce the first female President of Enugu-USA in the person of Dr. Ifesinachi (Sinachi) Ugwuonye; the political gladiators of Enugu State have rented the air with newspaper articles deflating a hard fought victory as it distorts the historical perspective of what led Enugu-USA to emerge as a trailblazer in gender equality in Diaspora. This piece will affirm the independence of the new leadership, discuss best practices of inter organizational relation and address lesson-learned for Enugu-USA and Enugu State Government moving forward.
THE MAKING OF THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT BY SINACHI-4-PRESIDEENT CAMPAIGN TEAM
One thing is certain here–Dr. Sinachi’s election is borne out of strategic planning and execution. The team SINACHI-4-PRESIDENT (Campaign Team) put together for this victory is not just the usual hangers on rather a team of deep thinking professionals drawn from our Diaspora community encompassing several continents. For me the idea of electing a female president was hatched after the attendance of a dismal convention in New Jersey in 2013. I did not waste time to express my displeasure on the direction Enugu-USA was going that I called for the men to back off the leadership and support the election of a female, which would provide men better opportunity to carouse the political terrain and rub shoulders with home-based politicians.
The idea caught on as others in our forum started harping on the fact that Enugu-USA had not walked, instead it was still crawling after 15 years. The initial team worked diligently and recruited the best and brightest, convinced her to accept to run and promised to stay with her through thick and thin during the campaign until success and victory were achieved. The campaign anticipated gender equality resistance and prepared for it and other possible obstacles.
Throughout the planning, strategy making and implementation the Campaign Team never had discussion with any politicians nor the political implication of a female president in the political happenings in Nigeria. Our focus was just on rescuing Enugu-USA from the doldrums of the recent past and rebuilding it to realize its vision and achieve its goal. There was no effort to neither reach out nor solicit support from politicians apart from courtesy calls placed to former members of Enugu-USA regarded as stake holders who worked within the Enugu State Government.
The election was tough if not brutal as all sorts of attacks were thrown at our candidate. The opponents were determined and entrenched to stop an accomplished woman from rising to the top. They explored and exploited even preexisting family squabble, as they recruited her brother to settle scores. However, the Campaign Team knew the importance of presenting a candidate that is highly qualified, competent and professionally flawless; a candidate who is a human being with the human imperfections that reside within us all.
The Campaign Team instituted a rapid response squad that, within minutes of any written allegations or charges, acknowledged them appropriately. We have a phone bank manned by an elder statesman who kept in touch with the voting delegates. In our responses, we released litany of endorsements from professors from United States and Nigeria, accomplished and powerful women both from Enugu State and beyond. In addition our candidate delivered a stunning and well-accepted key note address at Domestic Violence event organized by Enugu State Association of Washington DC area.
Despite the barrage of personal attacks on our candidate, she maintained her composure, never shivered nor shied away from the focus of bringing accountability, forgiveness, transparency and servant leadership to Enugu-USA. The Campaign Team arranged the first ever press teleconference where our candidate addressed any and all accusations and allegations. Our candidate extended live debate challenge to the other candidates, to happen in Houston before the election.
Based on the above it is clear that the first elected female president is a product of a formidable campaign team dubbed SINACHI-4-PRESIDENT. The Campaign worked tirelessly to the finish line to achieve the victory and in the process rescued Enugu-USA from stagnation of the past years. Any talks of political support from any politician are the figments of imagination and idle talks of losers, whose grip on Enugu-USA has been ceremoniously unshackled permanently by this electoral defeat.
Enugu-USA, a Californian registered non-profit (501c3) organization will continue to work (in the best practices of Inter organizational relations) with all other entities including but not limited to the governments of the United States of America, the governments of Nigeria, the United Nations and all other entities whose relationship is mutually beneficial to the realization of our vision and achievement of our mission. The political fallout in the media should not be allowed to take away the shine on our hard fought and much cherished and deserved VICTORY.
THE INTER ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONDSHIP (IOR) OF ENUGU-USA & ENUGU STATE
Structurally Enugu-USA must pay attention to inter-organization relationships, being that membership is not individual but through chapter membership. As such Enugu-USA is a collection of 26 independent organizations spread out in various parts of United States. Each of the chapters brings forth two delegates which make up the Board of Directors that elect the officers of Enugu-USA every two years. The officers of Enugu-USA are saddled with the responsibility of dealing and relating with each of the 26 independent chapters without interfering in their internal workings which makes inter-organizational relationship to be key.
The Inter Organizational Relationship (IOR) calls for generation of ideas, collaboration on projects and programs that are mutually beneficial to both organizations. IOR is based on the premises that “no man is an Island” as no entity exists unto itself. There should be collaboration among organizations in this case a US based non-profit Enugu-USA and Enugu state and local governments.
Such collaborations lead to more comprehensive and coordinated approach to complex issues such as healthcare and public health. IOR is mutually beneficial with attending synergy. It is critical to the success of Enugu-USA and it has been the lynch-pin for our popular Medical Mission program. The new administration must embrace it and include it in its arsenal for success.
Enugu-USA since its inception had maintained good relationship with Enugu State and other governmental entities in Nigeria. However there was a hiccup in bond of friendship in 2001 when the visiting Governor Chimaroke Nnamani suddenly walked off the stage at the middle of an event because the MC erroneously introduced the chief launcher as the next governor of Enugu-State. Earlier the previous evening, a bongo-wearing young man had disrespectfully confronted the Governor at the open BOD meeting.
These two mistakes by the leadership of Enugu-USA and the obvious and noticeable streak of independence towards Nigerian politicians by individual members sort of cooled the relationship as Enugu State Government did not honor invitations from Enugu-USA till the end of Governor Nnamani’s administration.
Despite the cold shoulders, Enugu-USA launched its signature program the Medical
Mission which required team of medical professionals to canvass the nook and crannies of Enugu State. The program became very successful enough to thaw the frozen relationship. The same government that did not honor our invitations started providing logistics because of the mutual benefit of the program.
In 2007, with the election of His Excellency, Governor Sullivan Chime, the relationship of Enugu State and Enugu-USA was significantly improved. Gov. Chime made the first move by including the then President to his transition team and subsequently created the first Diaspora Office with the former President as the Senior Special Adviser on Diaspora Matters. With these actions the relationship between Enugu-USA the Enugu State blossomed. His Excellency Governor Chime is still held in high regards not necessarily for the improved relationship but because of his stellar performance noticeable throughout Enugu State and Nigeria
However, the thorny question bugging the intellectuals and stakeholders of Enugu-USA is whether the improved relationship with the government of Enugu state translates to stronger and more vibrant Enugu-USA. The answer was obvious in the dismal 2013 convention organized in New Jersey. Prior to New Jersey no chapter showed interest in hosting the convention. It is obvious that what can be best described as a clique has developed focused on dumbing down the leadership performance of Enugu-USA. As a result the stakeholders of Enugu-USA became alarmed at the rudderless direction prompting the need for immediate action resulting in the election of the first female president.
The result of the election is the work of the most formidable campaign team ever assembled. The elected candidate, The President, Dr. Sinachi is super-qualified and she is a consummate professional who brings with her intellectual heft that would propel Enugu-USA as she will interact and interrelate with all entities including but not limited to Enugu state. There should be nothing but celebration in all quarters, for Enugu-USA has taken a stab at thorny issue of gender equality to emerge as the first Diaspora organization to elect a female president.
LESSONS FOR ENUGU-USA
On the political fallout of the election, Enugu-USA in my opinion cannot really control what individual politicians do. Enugu-USA cannot control what is published in the media. The game of politics is never-ending intrigues and permutation that knows no boundary. However, the good part is that there are lessons for Enugu-USA, Enugu State Government and other political entities. There are rooms to make amend and prevent future occurrence.
To the new leadership of Enugu-USA, this is an opportunity to reestablish a sound relationship with other entities especially political entities in Nigeria applying the best practices of inter organizational relationship. The focus should be on the mutual benefits of such relationship to the organization and not be allowed to be high jacked by few individuals that parade Enugu-USA as a clique of Ndi-government as is happening now.
This group of backward people led by Mr. Levi Onyia and their enablers are yesterday men who still think that, after an average of three decade of sojourn in the United States an average Enugu man and woman of Enugu-USA should not use their free will in making decision needed to move Enugu-USA forward. As will be discussed later, this group is responsible for the embarrassing media fallout unfavorable to the hardworking Governor of Enugu state.
The new leadership should work hard to prevent such embarrassment as happened after the successful 2014 national convention in Houston because whatever interaction and relationship with any entity must be mutually beneficial to both. Enugu-USA should establish responsible communication link to all entities. Enugu-USA through its spokesperson should communicate through press releases; position papers and social media. Enugu-USA will no longer be a source or venue of negativity against any entity honoring our invitation. This is exactly the benefit of electing competent leadership as opposed to leadership imposed by Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers. Enugu-USA will do better moving forward.
ADVICE FOR ENUGU STATE GOVERNMENT & OTHER POLITICAL ENTITIES
To the government of Enugu state under the able piloting of His Excellency, Governor Sullivan Chime: It is nothing but appreciation and commendation for the continued support for the programs of Enugu-USA. Recognition of such support is part of the reasons that motivated the intellectuals and stakeholders, binding them together under SINACHI-4-PRESIDENT to enthrone a competent and an independent female in the leadership of Enugu-USA for the continued partnership for the betterment of our poor people.
While the ugly media fallout from the convention is regrettable, it is important to revisit historically, the roles clandestinely and overtly played by the clique under the control of Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers to perpetrate the perception that Enugu government should dictate the leadership of Enugu-USA.
In the 2008 election in Miami, there were activities by enablers of Mr. Levi Onyia to influence the election. Unfortunately, the gallant people of Enugu-USA rebuffed such and voted for an erudite professor. However there were rumors that our able professor in his dealing with the government was frustrated throughout his administration. In 2012 at the election in Michigan, Mr. Levi Onyia was seen with three telephone handsets passing them around to voting delegates urging them to speak to their enablers in government house in order to influence the outcome of the election.
Fast forward to this 2014 election in Houston, it is obvious why such rumor made it to the press. While the press has published and the government responded, my personal observation of the government delegation at the convention leaves no doubt that these are the Chime Team, the consummate professionals who helped elevate the performance quotient of Governor Chime.
However, the clique of Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers painted dramatically a different picture. Right in front of the election hall was Mr. Levi Onyia with bag of T-shirts. I confronted him after handing out T-shirt to a woman from Nsukka while rebuffing request from an Ezeagu man standing in front of him. I told Mr. Levi Onyia that the reason he gave the shirt to the Nsukka lady was obvious and why he adamantly refused to give the Ezeagu man was because the lady was a delegate with voting power while the Ezeagu man has no vote.
Mr. Levi Onyia did not stop at just handing out T-shirts; he bombarded delegates with phones calls with promises of government land. Mr. Onyia was alleged to have pestered a particular delegate so much that the man decided at the urging of those sitting around him to call his bluff. The man went and saw Mr. Levi Onyia and came back with a white envelope containing paltry $350.00. It is sad that the Levi Onyia and his enablers of the world of 2014 still think that everybody has a price tag. Mr. Levi Onyia does not realize that many of the delegates are accomplished and financially buoyant. Many felt insulted at Mr. Onyia’s paltry offer and rejected them outright. Others took the money for the hell of it and still voted their conscience because of the anonymity embedded in the voting process.
For me who has straddled the two aisles of Enugu-USA and the Nigerian political arena, I keep wondering what motivates Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers in their quest to continue to dumb down Enugu-USA leadership. I have been in Enugu-USA from the inception till I decided in 2010 to test the political waters of Nigeria. I packed up and headed to Nigeria and contested for Federal House of Representatives representing Udi-Ezeagu constituency. I went through the entire nine yards of the primary process to where and when Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi was nominated again. I lost but it made me a bona fide PDP stakeholder with active participation.
With the vast experience from both end of the spectrum I seriously wonder why Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers would continue to stifle the leadership value of Enugu-USA. I wonder the political advantages such clueless leadership they prefer for Enugu-USA would do for anybody. This is nothing but mischief makers who want to be seen as the king and controller of Diaspora.
Since their game is up it is my opinion that new leadership should refer Mr. Onyia and his enablers to the Enugu-USA Ethics Committee to investigate their activities and prevent future embarrassing outcome in Enugu-USA events. The benefit of a vibrant Enugu-USA under quality leadership is not just beneficial to Enugu state government but to the entire people of Enugu state who stand to benefit with expanded programs and projects.
On the part of the Enugu state government, they may have to look closely within and decide whether Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers are good for the interest of Enugu state people. Those with Mr. Levi Onyia’s mindset should not be allowed to continue on the path that brings bad news to the performing government of the day. The lessons for the government should be to strive for collaboration, seeking partnership like they have been doing, and not to control a Diaspora Organization, as that is neither necessary nor possible. The Diaspora population is as different as their politics. To apply what is obtained at home to Diaspora does not fit best practices except in the world of Mr. Levi Onyia and his enablers.
Based on the above it is clear that the first elected female president is a product of a formidable campaign team dubbed SINACHI-4-PRESIDENT. The Campaign worked tirelessly to the finish line to achieve the victory. Any talks of political support from any politician are the figments of imagination and idle talks of losers, whose grip on Enugu-USA has been ceremoniously unshackled permanently by this electoral defeat. The President, Dr. Sinachi is poised to work with all to move Enugu state and its people forward. And will do so in mutual collaboration and application of the best practices IOR. Enugu-USA will go very far and reach multiple thousands of our poor people in need. The government of His Excellency, Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime remains the darling of Enugu Diaspora community. The enormous good work of His Excellency, Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu have not gone unnoticed but are deeply appreciated by the Nigerian Diaspora community. I ask the current and successive governments to take a broader view and explore as well as exploit the enormous human potentials and benefit to our people in maintaining strong inter organizational relationship because government cannot do it all. Our Diaspora community is ready and willing to HELP. Dee jee nu
Dr. Udeh, teaches (MBA)-Strategic Management at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a former PDP aspirant for House of Representatives, Udi-Ezeagu constituency, former PRO, Secretary-General and BOD member of Enugu-USA, a member of SINACHI-4-PRESIDENT, writes from New York City as he warms up for 2015
Doc, my brother, I feel seriously touched by the depth of your analysis both of the diaspora and local politics.
I think that as the election has been won and lost what remains is to build up a strong leadership of the Enugu – USA.
And as you are warming up for 2015, remember that we are here to provide veritable ground for the project, so call upon us in the time of need.
Again, I want you to provide leadership for “Egede United for Peace” this group is calling for a confab to x-ray land issues, the Igwe tussle and other traditional conflicts in our town and provide solutions.
I am hoping to hear from you soonest.
Your beloved brother, Elder Ben Eze Amuha.